Nursing Student Series: Nursing Orientation

Hey guys! Happy Monday!

Hope you all are doing well after Thanksgiving and with December comes the 1 month prior to start of nursing school.

That’s right, in about 1 month, I’m going to start a journey that has taken quite a pathway..loops, U-Turns, bends, twists….I mean, it was definitely a journey.

I had been debating for some time about doing something creative with this journey and it’s based off of the movie Chef, where a character did 1 second videos each day and molded them all together to create a video of what that journey was like for this chef. I thought about how cool that would be, how it’s a great way to document what it was like to start as a nursing student, and how I can look back later on next year and have something to talk about when it comes to what I am thankful for.

Then the reality hits that the IPhone that I have….well..long story short…doesn’t have a whole lot of memory, so instead, what I’m going to do…is I’m going to take pictures of each day, of what my journey in nursing school is like. So I have a few pictures already, and I’m not going to share them here, and instead, I want to share these at the end of the first leg of the journey.

However, I did want to start a regular series entitled the Nursing Student Series, because that’s exactly what I’m going to be. I have many different blog post ideas I’d like to talk about. The first one is this blog post — the orientation.

There are quite a few YouTube videos about the orientation, and in anticipation of this, I actually viewed most of them just for educational purposes. I didn’t know what to wear, so essentially I was watching YouTube videos about nursing orientations to determine what I ought to wear, but alas….a lot of the videos weren’t very helpful. Sure they gave advice about what to wear, but in terms of what information I could gather from that, it wasn’t useful.

This blog may or may not be helpful to you. What I can tell you is that a school’s orientation is an opportunity for one to really get to know the school, program, and meet important people (i.e. Classmates, professors, etc). I’m not going to be giving the obvious things that an orientation may cover such as financial aid, curriculum, etc. However, what I do want to give with this blogpost is some insight on how to approach orientation.

1. Don’t go in expecting school policy boredom — You will get policy stuff, but if your mindset whether guy or girl on orientation is simply it’s a bunch of school policies, you will miss out on the opportunity to get nuggets of wisdom that you can use while in school as opposed to not attending an orientation at all.

2. Prepare for orientation — Gather all necessary paperwork, check your school email (I can’t believe HOW MANY people did NOT check their school emails prior to orientation…it just boggles my mind that there are people who don’t prepare themselves in that way), and bring a pen/paper to write for notes (trust me, you’d rather have this than not).

3. Dress appropriately — I didn’t have a dress code for my orientation. However, through YouTube and the notion that I’m in professional school to be a nurse, I thought the best dress code is business casual. Unless someone tells you to dress a certain way, it’s best to be prepared by being somewhat overdressed rather than being under dressed. I want my professors to take me seriously and I want to prove to them that I have career goals I’d like to achieve. If I’m dressing like I don’t want to be at an orientation, it will show. So, I decided to dress what I would wear on a day when I may have a more casual meetings. As a student, sure, I’ll wear something casual. Yet, for that first orientation, a day that’s not quite an interview, yet not quite a class day, I thought it’s best to dress business casual. So, I wore a dark jean trouser and a nicer blouse (both form LOFT) as well as a cardigan to match.

4. Join the Facebook group of your cohort — I think it’s nice to join the FB group for your cohort because it’s a place where you get to meet your new classmates and it’s one where you can communicate with others and get news. I have resources and there are many new ones I’ve learned since joining my cohort’s FB group. It’s been great to have that mode of communication with people.

5. Listen — I think it’s important to listen and write down questions you may have. You’re at orientation to not necessarily learn about the school, but you are certainly there to learn about what the program is going to entail. From curriculum to book lists to supplies to clinicals and labs….you are at orientation to take note about all these things that will occur prior to starting on your first day of school.

6. Ask questions — When you’re in yoru 30s…let me just say, no question is a dumb question. I’m not sure about others who are younger…but for me, when I was in my 20s, I didn’t like asking questions or speaking up.  In fact I think it’s good to ask questions that may be important. For instance, because a lot of tests are on the computer, I asked the director whether or not such can be done on a tablet, because don’t use a laptop anymore. Rather than simply stay silent, I was glad to learn that a laptop is preferred which means I’m going to dust off that windows tablet that I have laying around somewhere that I use only for presentations for work, so I can use this for school.

7. Supplies — take note of what you’re going to need to purchase, because for nursing school, you are going to be buying supplies. I’m not going to put up of what is needed as there are many blog posts out there, but during orientation, it would be good to take notes on things you’re going to need.

8. Student panel — My school was great in that they had a student panel of those who have gone before us, and let me just say — if there was anything about the orientation that was worthy going to, it was this. I had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session, and the students that started a year before us were there to answer any questions that we had. Loved this the most. Listen, take notes, and think/ask those questions that are worth while to ask. No one can answer these better than those who have gone before you, and I really think that it’s wisdom that you can’t get from faculty or from an admissions counselor. My question for them was preceptorship and types offered (at the time the students all were in critical care) and I wanted to see what types were available and if there was one that I was hoping to do later on.

9. Talk to classmates — Orientation is not the time to simply just keep to your introverted self. As a bonifide introvert (80% introverted), you have to step out of that comfort zone of wanting to not talk, to one who wants to get to know classmates that are around you. It’s not speed dating or dating…but it’s an opportunity to just get to know your classmates. Talk to them, see who they are, what their background is like, work or nor work while in school, or why they chose nursing school. It’s a great opportunity to network with them and just get to know who you’re spending your next few years with.

10. Nursing School is NOT a competition — Ok, I have just say this because I know that there are many people who are out there who really really really into competition, and already, in my orientation, I can already tell who are the competitive types. Whether you chose to go into a MSN/DNP program in the future, the reality is this — competition will always exist in school, get use to it. BUT nursing is not a competition – we are not in medical school where you’re vying for top of the class for a top residency and nursing school is not a place where you are learning to become a good nursing for yourself. Nursing, healthcare, medical care….we’re all in PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL to work TOGETHER for the sake of PATIENTS. Let me just say, in my years of experience as a grad student, in school, there are times when competition is needed…but it’s also something that shouldn’t get the best of you. I remember how someone I know, when they were in law school, they were the bottom half of their class…and lo and behold, passed the California Bar and is doing well…so…Nursing School, you may spot the competitors in orientation, but let me just say, you got in, which means admissions thought you were worthy investing on to become a nurse….that you’ve got the academic skills and background, and they are going to now teach you what you need to know to be a good nurse. As a student, set goals, do your best, because the goal for nursing school, at least for me is this 1) Pass the NCLEX and 2) Do well enough to get into an MSN program and most importantly 3) How can I be the best nurse for my patient and for my colleagues.  Those are my 3 goals, in which the order of importances goes from 3 –> 1. 🙂 Obviously, I have to pass the NCLEX, I want to go onward to become an FNP, but most importantly, how can I be a good nurse for my patients and how can I learn how to work with my colleages as a nurse.

So, there you have it. Hope you guys will enjoy my new series. Unlike the other series (Make Up Reviews) that are not a normal part of my blog. This one is (like 5-5 Make Up Series).

Hope your week is off to a good start! Cheers!

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